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smitty_one_each's Journal: Fustakakrich & damn_registrars: not that I'm a poker player, but I'll call 83

Journal by smitty_one_each
Referencing this & this:
If life lacks a teleological point, then aren't you just arguing solipsism? How can you tell whether arguing on Slashdot is any different than barking like a dog?
I'll contend that the universe did come from somewhere, and has a point to it. I'll also contend that, irrespective of the drivel you spout, you behave as if the universe does, too.
So how 'bout we gird our loins and offer me a positive, consistent explanation of where we came from, why we're here, and where we're going. Fine. You reject the Jewish peasant carpenter as an explanation. Got it. It's on you; yours is a long and ignoble line of thought. But offer a superior replacement then, in your 'wisdom', please.
As a perfectly rational fellow, I should be pleased to discard any 'mythology' holding me back from achieving greatness as, say, an Opertating Thetan or something. Lay it out for me, bros.
Cheers,
Chris
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Fustakakrich & damn_registrars: not that I'm a poker player, but I'll call

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  • You seem convinced that there is a purpose to existence. However it appears that you come up with that purpose - at least in part - from reading a book that was written by a large number of different guys who wanted to assign a purpose to existence. If there is a purpose to the existence of humans, then why is there so much space in the universe in which humans do not exist? It would seem if the purpose of the universe was to create humans, we would have humans all over the universe, wouldn't we?

    And on
    • ...we would have humans all over the universe, wouldn't we?

      How do you know we don't?

      • ...we would have humans all over the universe, wouldn't we?

        How do you know we don't?

        Well, ultimately we don't know that for sure. However...

        • We do know there are no humans on any other planets in our solar system - if we're talking about supernatural powers why wouldn't a creator change the laws of nature to place humans on other planets in our solar system?
        • No humans from other planets have made contact with our planet
        • We have not detected human activities on any planets in other solar systems to date

        Now of course none of that proves that there are no humans on other planets although it

    • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

      You seem convinced that there is a purpose to existence. However it appears that you come up with that purpose - at least in part - from reading a book that was written by a large number of different guys who wanted to assign a purpose to existence.

      That is not an argument against purpose.

      If there is a purpose to the existence of humans, then why is there so much space in the universe in which humans do not exist? It would seem if the purpose of the universe was to create humans, we would have humans all over the universe, wouldn't we?

      No. Indeed, I have absolutely no reason to think that even if the Bible teaches that the purpose of existence is humans -- which isn't clear to me -- that therefore the universe would be filled with humans. That makes no sense, unless we think of resources as limited beings do. But God isn't limited. If he wants to create a massive universe just to demonstrate awesomeness to one tiny planet full of people, why not? It's as easy, to God, as not doing so. So the a

    • "Your god (of Abraham) has been the driving force behind quite nearly every war of the past 2,000 or so years."

      Really? Seems to me most of them were about resources and political control, with God as at best a bystander saying "they know not what they do".

      • No, warmakers make war. The know darn well what they do, subsequent to the warmakers setting themselves up as God.
        And yes, some of those warmakers have styled themselves 'Christian'.
        And no, I wouldn't want to be them when their deeds are required of them.
    • I take it from your effort to turn the question back on me, your implied answer is: "I got nothin'."
      • I take it from your effort to turn the question back on me, your implied answer is: "I got nothin'."

        You can read - and discard - my response like that if you so choose. My point is that you are insisting there to be a point, and then asking other people to explain a point while seemingly ignoring the possibility of there being none. Furthermore your insistence of their being a point is based - at least in part - on a crowd-sourced book written an indeterminate amount of time ago by an indeterminate number of authors, who shared the goal of making a purpose for existence.

        • I can envision the possibility of there being no point, but the utilitarian arguments for not running amok, themselves, must also be pointless.
          If the idea of there being a substantial difference between human and animal is pure bunk, then we may as well all take up arms and do something unspeakable, because that's as 'good' as a well-crafted poem.
          Unless I missed something.
          • If the idea of there being a substantial difference between human and animal is pure bunk

            On the molecular, cellular, and physiological levels there is no substantial difference between humans and non-human primates. On the molecular and cellular level is no substantial difference between a human and a frog. On the molecular difference the difference between a human and a fungi is minimal.

            This suggests, amongst other things, that if there is indeed a creator, he (or she, or whatever) was not very creative at all. If humans are so special then why are we made of a collection of recycled

            • On the molecular, cellular, and physiological levels there is no substantial difference between humans and non-human primates. On the molecular and cellular level is no substantial difference between a human and a frog. On the molecular difference the difference between a human and a fungi is minimal.

              Strong concur.

              This suggests, amongst other things, that if there is indeed a creator, he (or she, or whatever) was not very creative at all. If humans are so special then why are we made of a collection of re

              • On the molecular, cellular, and physiological levels there is no substantial difference between humans and non-human primates. On the molecular and cellular level is no substantial difference between a human and a frog. On the molecular difference the difference between a human and a fungi is minimal.

                Strong concur.

                Well then I'm glad to see you at least don't deny all science.

                This suggests, amongst other things, that if there is indeed a creator, he (or she, or whatever) was not very creative at all. If humans are so special then why are we made of a collection of recycled parts - shouldn't we have dramatically different parts?

                Not very creative at all? Because the universe somehow wasn't enough?

                Look at it this way. If you were an inventor, and had free run of any kind of materials, processes, manufacturing, etc that you wanted, would all your creations look the same? How much does the space shuttle look like a bicycle? Yet the physiological carry-over from a coelocanth to a human is enormous. It wreaks of lack of creativity, at the very least.

                The Creator plays by the rules that are there

                I thought the creator sets the rules. Again, if you have free reign to do everything -

                • Modern humans have been around for at most 2-3 million years, depending on how generously you define "modern" and "human". The Jurassic era itself was around 60 million years, and encompasses only a fraction of the total amount of time in which the largest and most dominant vertebrates were reptilian.
                  Now granted there is a chance that humans could survive another 60+ million years on this planet without extermination (at their own hands or otherwise), but that still leaves the question of why a creator wou

                  • As much as I grasp is that there has been some sequential aspect to Creation. You toss these numbers about as though they were settled law.

                    if carbon dating, plate tectonics, paleontology, the fossil record, sedimentation, and erosion are all "shiny theory" to you, then why do you accept any science at all? People who discard all of that are generally on par with those who say that fossils were planted by Satan to tempt the fate of mortals, or who claim that atomic theory is nonsense.

                    In other words, there is solid established science that can very confidently ascertain the age of fossils. I even intentionally use the oldest homonid as th

                    • You preach this with the firmness of the most hardcore Creationist (which I'm not, BTW).
                      Imma give you a great big 'OK'. Because irrespective of the current output of the scientific method, it's just a fantastic tool. I can't reach the level of tool-worship that some apparently do.
                      Because you never know when your flat-Earth theory will stand revealed as so much phlogiston [wikipedia.org].
                      I mean, it's a great theory. Lots of important people with more degrees than a thermometer support it. And it's less of an Orwellian po
                    • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

                      Religious adherents claim that humans are somehow superior and special. Yet humans have been on this planet for a very short period of time relative to other top species - so why would so much time have been wasted on "inferior" species? If the creator had a plan why take so long to execute it?

                      Your question-begging leads you to assume that the time was "wasted" in our view, and also that the creator would in any way be limited by time. When a billion years is as a day, there's no reason to not take billions of years to get here. You're just not making any sense. You're assuming the creator is as limited as you, and trying to apply your reasoning to him. It's stupid.

                    • Imma give you a great big 'OK'. Because irrespective of the current output of the scientific method, it's just a fantastic tool. I can't reach the level of tool-worship that some apparently do.

                      You are using the bible as a tool for your aims. It appears that your claim to it being somehow a better tool (than scientific rigor) is based on its age, which is puzzling as you are really cherry picking some older and some newer parts of the bible as you see fit to support your claims. Really, if the bible is somehow the better tool for explaining how humans came to be - based on its age - then shouldn't you be focusing exclusively on the old testament as it is the older book?

                      In other words why di

                    • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

                      I probably need not remind you what your church has done to those who dared to propose before that the earth was not the center of the universe.

                      It wasn't nearly as bad as what atheists have done to people who dared propose there is a higher power, over the last 100 years.

                      The reason why I ask those questions is because creation tends to carry the assumption that the "creator" is similar to humans, and hence that humans are the pinnacle of creation. However if this is the case, then why didn't the creator just make humans right off the start? Creating all these other critters - particularly the ones that were long gone before humans came to be on the scene - is a huge waste of time, energy, resources, etc if creation has an end goal.

                      Only if you're limited in your resources and time and energy, which the creator is not. Do you even listen to your "argument"?

                      Though even more so, as I said before, if the human is the ultimate end of creation, why is it such an uninspired design?

                      It's not. In fact, it is the far more inspired than any design anyone else has ever come up with.

                      We don't make stealth bombers and space shuttles from reclaimed horse carriages, so why make humans from the same parts that have been in the oceans for hundreds of millions of years?

                      So, space shuttles and stealth bombers do not have wheels? Or manual steering mechanisms? Or windows?

                    • In other words why did your book get better with time - though of course only up to a certain date in time - but then once we started to actually reach a point where we could demonstrate hypotheses to be valid you opt to disregard the results of testing?

                      The Bible is for the soul; science is for the intellect. They do an inferior job of explaining each other.

                      I probably need not remind you what your church

                      *Ahem* no church of mine, oh, and by the way, here is some detail [archive.org].

                      The reason why I ask those questions

                    • In other words why did your book get better with time - though of course only up to a certain date in time - but then once we started to actually reach a point where we could demonstrate hypotheses to be valid you opt to disregard the results of testing?

                      The Bible is for the soul; science is for the intellect. They do an inferior job of explaining each other.

                      Being as you are willing to use the bible to discard science when science doesn't agree with your belief set, please forgive me for calling BS when you claim to believe that the bible does not explain science.

                      The reason why I ask those questions is because creation tends to carry the assumption that the "creator" is similar to humans, and hence that humans are the pinnacle of creation.

                      The topic of "let us make man in our image" is a deep one, worthy of its own thread.

                      If you are suggesting then that creation will go somewhere beyond humans, that would indicate that all of creation did not happen at once - and that humans are not the top of life forms. That sounds quite a bit like evolution, to me.

                      Doesn't creation indicate that things were made, with a purpo

                    • Pudge are you writing these comments with the hopes of getting someone else to reply so that you can have a discussion with them, or is it just because you enjoy seeing your words displayed on the screen?

                      I have tried many, many, times over the years to have a discussion with you. With almost no exceptions, every attempt ends with you accusing me of lying, refusing to address questions, and continually attempting to change the topic of discussion. Hence I do not see any reason to expect that you are,
                    • Being as you are willing to use the bible to discard science when science doesn't agree with your belief set, please forgive me for calling BS when you claim to believe that the bible does not explain science.

                      Sweet, sweet troll. It seems as though you're calling me a liar here. What's not clear is whether you actually think me less than forthright, or whether you're merely screwing around with me.

                      Doesn't creation indicate that things were made, with a purpose?

                      Yes, though there seems a bit of an Uncertaint

                    • The irony here is that I feel the much the same about my interactions with you, damn_registrars.
                    • The irony here is that I feel the much the same about my interactions with you, damn_registrars.

                      I'm sorry to hear that you feel that way. I would like to point out however that I do answer questions you ask of me, I do not call you stupid or brush you off as a liar, nor do I repeatedly refer back to past discussions as justification for future mistreatment.

                    • Being as you are willing to use the bible to discard science when science doesn't agree with your belief set, please forgive me for calling BS when you claim to believe that the bible does not explain science.

                      Sweet, sweet troll.

                      How is it trolling when I point out that there is an obvious double standard in your reasoning? You claimed earlier that between the bible and science one does not explain the other well, yet you clearly show that you are willing to use the bible to discard science.

                      It seems as though you're calling me a liar here.

                      I'm calling you as someone who is using a double standard.

                      What's not clear is whether you actually think me less than forthright, or whether you're merely screwing around with me.

                      You are less than forthright, at the very least. You claim to hold to one set of values and then demonstrate yourself to hold to another.

                      For example, I have no idea why you and I have crossed threads on Slashdot.

                      I don't recall exactly when I first saw you w

                    • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

                      I have tried many, many, times over the years to have a discussion with you. With almost no exceptions, every attempt ends with you accusing me of lying, refusing to address questions, and continually attempting to change the topic of discussion.

                      I tend to not remember exchanges by the relatively anonymous individuals I've had those exchanges with, but if all your comments were like this one, then you deserved to be accused of lying. In fact, I work very hard to keep on the topic of the discussion -- not necessarily the original post, but where the discussion leads -- and pretty much the only times I refuse to address questions is when those questions are themselves off-topic (or, as is often the case with trolls, when the person asking me the ques

                    • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

                      I would like to point out however that I do answer questions you ask of me

                      As do I, unless they are off-topic, or the person asking is refusing to answer my questions or being otherwise abusive. You will not find examples outside of this.

                      I do not call you stupid or brush you off as a liar

                      I didn't do this, not in this discussion. I did say your argument was stupid, and it was: arguing that God would not do something because it is a waste of time and resources, while our belief is clearly that to God there is literally no limit to time and resources -- and therefore no such thing as waste of those things, to God -- is pure nonsens

                    • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

                      You are on the list because unlike a lot of other slashdot conservatives, you have shown the ability to have a civil discussion with non-conservatives and actually elaborate beyond "because I said so" when asked about your values.

                      I do that all the time. Better than most. I daresay, better than my friend smitty.

                      But I do have a problem. Well, multiple problems. When someone is rude, I reflect it back at them. When someone says something stupid, I say it's stupid. I am blunt, but extremely fair. I am one of the most civil people you will ever meet. I am also one of the most incivil people you will ever meet. If approached with humility and kindness, I almost always reflect that back. You rarely approach anyone, including smit

                    • Pudge

                      You decided some time ago now to hate me, and you have not wavered from that decision under any circumstances. I see no reason to attempt to have a conversation with you any more, as the results are the same every time. Every. Single. Time. There is no reason to expect that you replied to my messages here with any intention of having a discussion, as you have never done any such thing any other time that you have replied to any message I have ever posted here on slashdot.

                      Considering you have a
                    • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

                      You decided some time ago now to hate me, and you have not wavered from that decision under any circumstances.

                      You're lying. I decided to foe you. That's it.

                      There is no reason to expect that you replied to my messages here with any intention of having a discussion, as you have never done any such thing any other time that you have replied to any message I have ever posted here on slashdot.

                      You're lying. Almost every reply I ever make, including to you, is to engage in the topic of discussion.

                      Considering you have a solid history of not answering my questions under any circumstances

                      You're lying. In fact, I always answer your questions, unless they are off-topic, or you first refused to answer mine.

                      It's so bizarre that you would simply invent all of this about me, as though it bears any reflection on reality. Why do you do it?

                    • I do not call you stupid or brush you off as a liar, nor do I repeatedly refer back to past discussions as justification for future mistreatment.

                      I mean, I have no problem forgiving you, but all of the "partisan hack" schtick is tantamount to questioning my integrity.

                    • You don't seem to want to exchange ideas with those who do not share your values any more.

                      The whole point of the original JE was to invite you to

                      offer me a positive, consistent explanation of where we came from, why we're here, and where we're going

                      I mean, I ask you, and I still lack another alternative theory from which to work. So how, exactly, do I not "seem to want to exchange ideas with those who do not share your values"? This is at the crux of where I (if not Pudge) go roundy-round with you: sincere

                    • offer me a positive, consistent explanation of where we came from, why we're here, and where we're going

                      How is saying that there is no specific reason for us to be here not fulfilling your request? Just because you don't agree with that answer does not mean it is not an answer. As I stated before you are looking to mythology to answer those questions - which in my eyes is cheating as many of the myths were created specifically to answer those questions - and then subsequently brushing off the possibility of there being no ultimate purpose.

                      So if by "positive" you mean "explanation that says this [why qu

                    • How is saying that there is no specific reason for us to be here not fulfilling your request?

                      Because this approach seems a rather bloated way of saying 'nihilism'. I'm still not seeing how you find a stable operating point between 'something' and 'nothing'. I'm left to surmise you're either:
                      (a) incomplete in your thinking, or
                      (b) having me on, somehow.
                      But maybe I'm overlooking something.

                      That said the fact that we spend more time in meta-discussion than actual discussion suggests that our communications

                    • How is saying that there is no specific reason for us to be here not fulfilling your request?

                      Because this approach seems a rather bloated way of saying 'nihilism'.

                      It is not completely unreasonable to say that my answer supports nihilism.

                      But maybe I'm overlooking something.

                      Not necessarily. The only thing you are overlooking is the possibility that maybe there really is no purpose. You asked for an explanation of the purpose, and I suggested maybe there is none. The whole point I brought up way back when I started this thread though is that in your search for a purpose you are turning - at least in part - to a book of mythology which was composed to create a purpose. Obviously, anyone who reads the

                    • The only thing you are overlooking is the possibility that maybe there really is no purpose.

                      How is viewing and rejecting the same as overlooking? If there is no purpose in life, then there is no ultimate difference between going to work, barking like a dog, and drinking myself to death. I submit that, even if you're craving the nihilism, by merely replying on Slashdot, you're tacitly arguing against it.

                      I primarily responded to this because you included my username in the JE title, which to me suggests that

                    • The only thing you are overlooking is the possibility that maybe there really is no purpose.

                      How is viewing and rejecting the same as overlooking?

                      I haven't seen a sign that you honestly considered it. Viewing and rejecting implies that you put some thought into the possibility. Your posts, however, suggest that you did not. Your posts suggest that you instead held to your faith which tells you there must be a purpose.

                      If there is no purpose in life, then there is no ultimate difference between going to work, barking like a dog, and drinking myself to death.

                      What makes you so certain that those do have significantly different outcomes for anyone other than yourself and immediate family? There are other vertebrates who can make similar decisions that would impact their family units.

                      even if you're craving the nihilism, by merely replying on Slashdot, you're tacitly arguing against it.

                      I'm

                    • I haven't seen a sign that you honestly considered it. Viewing and rejecting implies that you put some thought into the possibility. Your posts, however, suggest that you did not. Your posts suggest that you instead held to your faith which tells you there must be a purpose.

                      I've explained to you that, for my analysis, the "Not God" ultimately arrives at => "no ultimate difference between going to work, barking like a dog, and drinking myself to death". Does "honest consideration" require that I undertak

                    • "no ultimate difference between going to work, barking like a dog, and drinking myself to death". Does "honest consideration" require that I undertake all three in a non-hypothetical way?

                      That depends on what you consider to be "honest consideration". Honest considering is this case does not require you to actually perform all three feats, but rather to ponder whether any one of them actually has more importance than the others to the world beyond your own nose.

                      Ultimately if you consider that you should at least consider the possibility that in the greater scope none of those matter more than the others, for any one human who has ever existed. Even if you consider the POTUS to be the

                    • Ultimately if you consider that you should at least consider the possibility that in the greater scope none of those matter more than the others, for any one human who has ever existed. Even if you consider the POTUS to be the most powerful man in the world (one could make an argument against that of course but for this case we'll say he is) he could go on a terminal bender tonight, never recover his ability to do his job, and the world would not cease to exist.

                      So, why do you bother with being a scientist,

                    • First, I'd like to thank you for this comment. I knew if we tried we could get back on track and have a pleasant discussion. I apologize for the part of the earlier mess that was mine.

                      I wanted to chew on this for a while, as it does look like you spent some time on this message and I wanted my reply to be of proper length and content.

                      Ultimately if you consider that you should at least consider the possibility that in the greater scope none of those matter more than the others, for any one human who has ever existed. Even if you consider the POTUS to be the most powerful man in the world (one could make an argument against that of course but for this case we'll say he is) he could go on a terminal bender tonight, never recover his ability to do his job, and the world would not cease to exist.

                      So, why do you bother with being a scientist, then. Solomon comes full circle to "vanity of vanities, all is vanity". If it doesn't matter, then why do you continue to behave as though it does?

                      To me, science is about finding out how things work. Whether or not there is a specific purpose to humans existing at all is not significant to my work, from my vantage p

                    • I apologize for the part of the earlier mess that was mine.

                      In a Nietzscheian way, I'm thankful for the dialog as it's progressed, and forgive you everything, as I hope you can me. Overall, it's been a good test, whether or not that was deliberate on your end.

                      To me, science is about finding out how things work. Whether or not there is a specific purpose to humans existing at all is not significant to my work, from my vantage point. Indeed the work I do applies just as well to humans, chimps, mice, frogs, fl

                    • In a Nietzscheian way, I'm thankful for the dialog as it's progressed, and forgive you everything, as I hope you can me

                      Yes, I forgive you. We were both - perhaps both unintentionally - pushing the other a bit much it seems. Thankfully we found a way for us to both find cooler heads. Perhaps we needing this after rattling each others' cages for a while, just to get the steam out.

                      I took, and essentially failed, a Master's Biochem course at GWU. This was part of the collapse of my PhD effort, as it blew away my Bioinformatics secondary field.

                      Sorry to hear that didn't go well. For as much as it might (or might not) matter there are likely quite a few more schools offering graduate programs in bioinformatics now than there were when you started (as there are quite a few more now than

                    • This JE is up around 80 comments, and the thread with Arker is also intriguing. Not that one can find/navigate Slashdot comments well.

                      As more schools offer it at the graduate level more of them are recognizing that there are a multitude of paths in that are valid. Hell the last actual bioinformatics group that I worked with myself was, in its final days, led by a guy who did his BS in physics and his PhD in math.

                      As with so much in life, it's a heuristic problem. In another decade or so, I hope to trundle o

                • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

                  Well then I'm glad to see you at least don't deny all science.

                  It's sad that you assume science is somehow on your side.

                  Look at it this way. If you were an inventor, and had free run of any kind of materials, processes, manufacturing, etc that you wanted, would all your creations look the same?

                  Wow. You think everything on Earth looks the same? That's really weird.

                  How much does the space shuttle look like a bicycle? Yet the physiological carry-over from a coelocanth to a human is enormous.

                  Shift the goalposts much? A bicycle and a space shuttle have just as "enormous" a "carry-over" from one to the other, and look even less different from each other.

                  It wreaks of lack of creativity, at the very least.

                  False.

                  if you have free reign to do everything - as implied by the adjective almighty - why just make little tweaks?

                  Creating the entire universe, designing it from scratch so that man would come to exist as he does, it simply "making little tweaks"?

                  Why not try things that are radically different?

                  Right, because massive planetary civilzations of sentient beings existed -- tha

            • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

              On the molecular, cellular, and physiological levels there is no substantial difference between humans and non-human primates.

              That cannot be true if there is nothing beyond the physical. It defies reason. It leaves impossible that man has made an amazing civilization, and apes have not done anything even remotely close to it.

              This suggests, amongst other things, that if there is indeed a creator, he (or she, or whatever) was not very creative at all.

              False. You're question-begging.

              If humans are so special then why are we made of a collection of recycled parts - shouldn't we have dramatically different parts?

              No.

              And if humans are so special then why have we been on this planet for such a short period of time?

              Why not?

              Reptiles had the run of the place much much longer than mammals have. What was the point of a long age of reptiles if the goal was to produce humans?

              Um ... maybe to help create a world for humans?

              And for that matter why produce humans which such a flawed physiological design?

              Why not?

              You ask such retarded questions. Please try harder to be smart. You are just assuming that there's no purpose to it, which is nothing short of question-begging.

              • That cannot be true if there is nothing beyond the physical.

                It is a chemical fact that vast swaths of DNA sequences are identical across all life. This also helps explain damn_registrar's ant-like affinity for the colony mind.

                • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

                  That cannot be true if there is nothing beyond the physical.

                  It is a chemical fact that vast swaths of DNA sequences are identical across all life. This also helps explain damn_registrar's ant-like affinity for the colony mind.

                  Sure. But you cannot conclude from that the sum of the physical differences is not "significant," else the differences in our capabilities would not exist ... if you believe that all there is, is physical.

  • Diaper duty?

    I believe your insistence on something "superior" is the problem. Which to me, you're only looking for an authority (father?) figure that all must obey. The "superior being" is your justification for your authority, which the reasonable man knows he can live without. Contrary to what MH_42 said, we don't need a god to be good, and we sure don't need to devil to be evil. The whole concept of both resides entirely in our heads. They do not exist on the outside. All we have is the guidance of other

    • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

      I believe your insistence on something "superior" is the problem.

      How is that a problem?

      Which to me, you're only looking for an authority (father?) figure that all must obey.

      Even if that were true -- which I suspect it is not, as my views are similar to his, and those are not my views, and I've never seen any indication those are his views -- it doesn't mean his views are wrong.

      The "superior being" is your justification for your authority

      What authority do you pretend smitty thinks he has?

      ... which the reasonable man knows he can live without.

      No one is saying you can't live without acknowledging a "superior being."

      Contrary to what MH_42 said, we don't need a god to be good

      No. But you do mostly need a concept of a higher power to imply that there is any such thing *as* morally or ethically "good."

      The whole concept of both resides entirely in our heads. They do not exist on the outside.

      Right, to a smart atheist, ther

    • Then show me an atheist, anywhere, who claims "Good without God" whose personal life is actually *good* as defined by any tribal tradition you wish.

      You can't- because the entire purpose of being an atheist is because you want to do something that somebody, somewhere, told you that you can't and that God is against.

  • ... the recent debate [biola.edu] between theist William Lane Craig and atheist Alex Rosenberg: "Is Faith in God Reasonable?"

    Short answer: yes.

    • My point being that we can view faith and reason as orthogonal.
      While I may think Dawkins a fool, in a theological sense, I wouldn't call him unreasonable.
      And I'd hope for similar courtesy. I should pray the Holy Spirit boost him into a higher understanding of the glory that is creation, rather than condescending to him or dismissing him outright. If faith has merit, it shouldn't fear being stress-tested by a stout intellect.
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiJnCQuPiuo [youtube.com]

      This debate (between Craig and Shelly Kagan), if William Craig debates are going to be linked, is probably more relevant (in addition to being a better debate overall).

  • Most moral relativists *are* solipsists. The entire "Good without God" crowd is a case in point; new atheists who think they can make their hedonism better by volunteering at a homeless shelter two or three days a week.

    • What is both saddening and instructive is how successful they are in substituting hedonism for liberty in the culture.
  • I can accept that, of course, our life has a point, for us, without imagining that this point is really relevant on a broader scale. I am, in other words, skeptical of the notion that the meaning of my life has to be the same as the meaning of your life. I dont think that implies solipsism it seems diametrically opposed.

    But if there is no universal purpose, only particular, individual purposes, then teleology really tells us only about ourselves, not about the world beyond our own skin.

    We humans are the kin

    • Beautifully put...

    • What worries me about your approach is the human capacity to rationalize. Anything.
      If we deny absolute zero, how can we tell the temperature of a thing? We can maybe make some relative assertions about A being warmer/colder than B, but have we knee-capped our capacity to understand?
      Lacking objective standards, we can try to bring in some utilitarian arguments. And so we se politicians seeking to be judged based upon swell intentions, rather than their (bi-partisan) ruinous results.
      And I'm at peace with t
      • What worries me about your approach is the human capacity to rationalize. Anything.

        :-) Yes...

      • by Arker (91948)

        The capacity to rationalise ones desires is perhaps second only to the capacity to see what we look for. Both traits serve an important *purpose* yet both are two-edged swords we must watch carefully.

        If we deny absolute zero, how can we tell the temperature of a thing? We can maybe make some relative assertions about A being warmer/colder than B, but have we knee-capped our capacity to understand?

        What we seem to be programmed to do when we lack an absolute zero is simply to pick a zero point that is conve

        • What we seem to be programmed to do when we lack an absolute zero is simply to pick a zero point that is convenient for our situation and use it. A pretty practical adaption at the start, but it can be a problem later when that more-or-less arbitrary zero point is later regarded as if it were absolute.

          If you're rational, you have to admit the possibility that your theory is bogus. If you're not playing there, I say you're fanatic. Have you viewed the video [youtube.com] from Pudge upstream in this thread? Stunning.

          • by Arker (91948)

            Well, yeah, I guess the entire point to my line of argument is that I believe we all need to consider the possibility that our theories are bogus, and treat our own theories with the same skepticism we treat those of other people (and, as a consequence, respect the theories, opinions and ways of others even when we genuinely believe them to be ultimately wrong we should keep in mind the possibility that we are wrong instead - or even as well.) I am not sure how that makes me a fanatic.

            I havent seen the vide

            • No, failure to consider the opposite possibility for our positions would mark us fanatic. Even Paul does so [biblestudytools.com].
              Indeed, if I didn't fear God, I can imagine all sorts of selfish undertakings. Some might even feel great. For a while.
              • by Arker (91948)

                I think you are saying that I have failed to consider the opposite possibility of my own position, but I dont see that. Instead I see me as deliberately taking a 'softer' position than you because I *do* consider the opposite possibility more seriously. Paul in the verse you cite is not, in my opinion, seriously considering the possibility that the risen Christ who visited him on the road is not real. This is part of a longer passage with a theme, variations on 'if not Christ X then not X' and the questions

                • Paul in the verse you cite is not, in my opinion, seriously considering the possibility that the risen Christ who visited him on the road is not real.

                  I suppose that's a fair point. Paul was certainly not exploring the possibility, but I don't think that means he's unserious, either.
                  Recall he was a no-kidding Pharisee and indeed a persecutor of the church in his Saul phase.

                  Rational people, of any or of no religion, will avoid undertakings that give them short term pleasure in exchange for long term harm.

                  Was

                  • by Arker (91948)

                    I suppose that's a fair point. Paul was certainly not exploring the possibility, but I don't think that means he's unserious, either. Recall he was a no-kidding Pharisee and indeed a persecutor of the church in his Saul phase.

                    And not to pick on Saul Paul but since you bring it up, this is actually an example of what I said earlier. Paul was just as zealous before his experience in persecuting as he was after in preaching. It is a two edged sword - the belief in an absolute morality was what allowed him to

                    • but if taken to the logical conclusion we should all be decomposing/providing meals for wildlife, with needles hanging from our arms. Yet even given plenty of opportunity, the vast majority of people just arent interested in the needle. We are far from perfectly rational, but we are even further from being completely irrational.

                      And so what I'm getting at is that, as long as measures of effectiveness remain subjective, it seems we more or less can't tell the difference between mankind setting foot on the moo

                    • by Arker (91948)

                      And so what I'm getting at is that, as long as measures of effectiveness remain subjective, it seems we more or less can't tell the difference between mankind setting foot on the moon and hitting the rave.

                      Really?

                      Completely subjectively, I have no problem at all distinguishing the two.

                      It's hard to imagine any subjective frame of reference where they would be indestinguishable, though logically of course such must exist.

                      My own opinion is that I believe there is a Creator (though I could be wrong) and I bel

                    • Completely subjectively, I have no problem at all distinguishing the two.

                      Right, but you do understand that there are "moon truthers" who consider the Apollo Program [youtube.com] a hoax? That's my point.

                      More fundamentally I believe in the law of Moses.

                      I'm a huge respecter of Moses. As you read the Epistle to the Hebrews, though, the contrast between Old and New Testaments comes into focus. The Law was an external undertaking. Until we get to the Messiah, there isn't as much internal motive for humanity (beyond the direc

                    • by Arker (91948)

                      Right, but you do understand that there are "moon truthers" who consider the Apollo Program a hoax? That's my point.

                      Yes, but so what? There will always be such people I suppose, I am not going to reshape my epistemology for their sake.

                      The Epistle to the Hebrews is very interesting reading. But I disagree a bit with your overall analysis. The original law was not lacking - but it was made lacking over time by the priests, the kings, the scribes, eventually the rabbis, each in their turn. It was humans that

                    • When the christian movement arose it was an attempt to restore something that had been lost along the way. The rabbis, of course, could not bear it, and forced schism. But afterwards it really mutated into something else entirely.

                      No, Chrisitianity substantially became that which Jesus of Nazareth opposed. Treading lightly here, since I don't want to rile anyone, but let's be clear: bureaucracy bites.

                      because what is important here isnt our specific beliefs, so much as our ability to hold beliefs without beco

                    • by Arker (91948)

                      I dont want to 'rile' anyone either, I hope that is obvious. I do think it's slightly sad that fundamental topics of conversations sometimes have to be tip-toed around to avoid riling people.

                      I see the history of Mosaic religions as one of corruption followed by attempts at reform followed by schism, over and over again. Even inside the larger traditions themselves, the same story occurs as well, so that it is even a fractal pattern if you grok what I am saying. So there is the split between Israel and Judah

                    • Another possibility is this: our 'salvation' (or whatever symbol you prefer) is a pure individual thing. All of these notions of community are necessary for transmitting information, but insufficient for particular people. "I was raised in a Baptist household" is tangential. This is why I feel Al Gore's NYT remark in 2010 [nytimes.com]:

                      From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption.

                      Is the stupidest remark I've ever heard made by a 'public' fi

                    • by Arker (91948)
                      I think this was the perspective of several of the founding fathers; deists certainly would find much to agree with you on. But what I dont understand is; if salvation is an individual matter why are you so attached to the notion of an objective teleology?
                    • I'm afraid I don't understand your question, but let's see if this distinction helps:
                      * It's one thing to say that everybody under the sun is dealing with a need for salvation*, implicitly or explicitly, in a house of worship or a tavern;
                      * It's quite another to say that an objective teleology exists, and the Creator might have something to say to each person upon matriculating the mortal plane.

                      Where much of Christianity goes sideways is preaching the Gospel as an appeal to fear. While sheep/fish analogie
                    • by Arker (91948)

                      Well I guess the way I see it, an objective teleology isn't that important unless you need to assert that your teleological conclusions are objectively true for other people, whether they agree or not.

                      Much of Christianity certainly appears to me to be oriented towards using the appeal to fear to control behaviour and generate revenue. Much like other religions in that, I dont single you out.

                      And I see a sort of tension between rationalism and tradition that is hard to balance at times. The deists as philosop

                    • Much of Christianity certainly appears to me to be oriented towards using the appeal to fear to control behaviour and generate revenue. Much like other religions in that, I dont single you out.

                      There are not many possible negative assertions about 'christianity' that cannot be backed up with fact. Also, most other recognizable spiritual labels. Which is pretty much what you said.

                      I see Reform Judaism as a similar example - some of the reform Rabbis are really extraordinary scholars, but in practice the whole

    • As long as there is DNA and species specific requirements to fulfill, then life has an objective, telelogical purpose. If you don't believe me, go try to live off of eating radio waves.

      • by Arker (91948)

        Even there I think it is still relativistic. The individual rat has no apparent objective other than to gain sufficient resources and reproduce, avoiding extinction of his dna program. But rats occur not just individually, but as groups of related individuals, and from the perspective of a group of related dna programs it's perfectly fine to see one individual line die out in order to give an advantage to related lines.

        And from another perspective entirely, a higher level of abstraction, rats bred in the la

        • "no apparent objective other than to gain sufficient resources and reproduce"

          Modern moral relativists would deny most individual humans even those objectives. Witness the tendency of Planned Parenthood to attack high schools where the majority of students are immigrants or non-white, and the growing prejudice against pregnancy in general.

          I have no idea why you are talking about rats instead of humans, are you a traitor to your own species?

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